Julian & I peddled out of Portland a month ago, parted ways in Arcata, Cali, and I finally made it to the Bay area! And here's the first pic of me ever on this blog. That's Julian on the left. Notice the roadkill hides on his bike. Julian's bike is a fixed gear 1-speed, believe it or not.
Starting in the rain, Julian & I cycled from Portland to Salem, first, where we visited Jose (my friend who rode to Wyoming with me) and his parents & sisters. Then we visited my old friend Jerry Garcia, his wife Lynn, & their 4 kids. Yes,
Jerry lives! Jerry Garcia's my friend's actual name. And, no, the guy on the left isn't him. Well, it's a picture of a Jerry Garcia, anyway. I hadn't seen Jerry for some 19 years, since we were in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. I had thought it might be awkward seeing him after so long, but it was as if we'd parted only yesterday.
After 3 days there, we headed to Ashland. We visited my friends Frank & Sara, whom I hadn't seen in 10 years! They have 2 kids now. After leaving their house, we heading out of Ashland, & saw a sign at the university for a free film on Darfur along with a free lunch. As we looked for it, we biked right into a free bicycle clinic, where Julian got his bike fixed up! The folks there invited us to a potluck that evening, & also offered us a crash pad at the bicycle coop. At the potluck I happened to run into my old friend, Trevor, and an old acquaintance, Stevia, both of whom I hadn't seen in 6 years! Trevor & Stevia were gnomes from my tree-sitting days. Again, magical synchronicity, small world! My head was swimming from all the nostalgia of long-lost friends on this trip, as well as all the magic synchronicities.
Oh, yes, we saw the film on Darfur (in the region of Sudan) the next day. I had not realized before that a major holocaust (like what happened in Rwanda) is happening right now in Darfur! Our media doesn't tell us shit.
Julian & I peddled on to highway 96 toward Arcata. By this time we were eating lots of fresh roadkill - several squirrels and a juvenile doe - all incredibly delicious. I kid you not. The venison tasted way better than prime beef - not a bit of that usual gamy venison taste. (Yes, I might be vegan if I used money, because the animal industry is treacherous. In a previous blog entry I talk about the ethics of eating meat & hunting & gathering & such). We started tanning the hides with acorn water.
We continued through the Hoopa Valley Indian Res (right). That route is paradise. The Yurok we met there were really friendly, and a bit different by looks & personality than the Navajos in the Four Corners area I'm used to. They seem way more affluent than either the Navajo or Lakota. The Yurok joke that they are called Why You Are Okay.
We decided to take a 20-mile dirt road "short cut" from the res toward Arcata, & we ended up pushing our bikes uphill the first 10 miles, over a high pass! My front tire exploded on the way down the other side. Fortunately, I was carrying extra nearly-new tire & tubes I had dumpstered. In Arcata we camped in the redwoods near the university. We saw a wonderful presentation by the Beehive Collective.
In Arcata, Julian & I decided to part ways. Julian wanted to stay & find a ride to LA, ASAP, & I wanted to pick up peddle speed so I could get to San Fran by the time of Grace's surgery.
I biked down 101, then down the Avenue of the Giants. I camped under a couple-thousand-year-old redwood. The beauty was overwhelming. But this small bit of preserved redwood forest is surrounded by clear-cuts, which is heartbreaking.
The banking & housing crisis fills me with hope. I hope it means we stop building more houses, McMansions this nation surely does not need. Another depression, as hard as that seems, perhaps will remind us again to take only what we need & to share, like we all supposedly learn in kindergarten.
On this moneyless path, I used to call myself a "Sannyasi" or a "Sadhu". But it was pretension.
What if the only help or recognition I wanted from people was not because of a name I put on myself, or an office I take on, but simply because I am human, not special above anybody.
What if I refuse to go to war or refuse ownership simply because I Am Who I Am, not because I am a Quaker or Amish or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian? What if you give me assistance, not because I call myself a monk or wear special clothes, but simply because I am human, just like the bag lady pushing her grocery cart?